in: African Studies 75 (3), 297-315
The Pan-African movement and the contribution of the Egyptian state and society to this movement have witnessed a significant change over the last five decades. The article traces the transformations in the meaning of Pan-Africanism from liberation from discrimination and colonialism to liberation from authoritarianism and a struggle for democracy and human rights. It argues that the position of the Egyptian state has changed from a progressive force that supported the Pan-African ideals of anti-imperialism and the struggle for independence to a conservative force that defends traditional concepts of sovereignty and expresses little enthusiasm for the African Union’s new governance instruments. It explores the short lived potential that the January 25 revolution presented for restoring the role of the Egyptian state and revitalising the role of its civil society at the heart of the Pan-African struggle for political and economic rights. The memoirs of Egyptian leaders and officials and the reports and statements of AU organs as well as the Egyptian ministry of foreign affairs are analysed in this article to uncover the Egyptian government’s position and the comparative stance of the continental organisation. Primary and secondary sources are examined to provide an assessment of the role of non-state actors in Egypt in the Pan-African movement.